Engineers Top Wellesley, Capture NEWMAC Regular Season Crown

Courtesy of Wellesley College Sports Information

WELLESLEY, Mass. – In a key late season NEWMAC match-up, MIT defeated Wellesley College, 25-20, 22-25, 25-21, 25-23 at the Keohane Sports Center on Tuesday night. With the win, the Engineers clinched the No. 1 seed for the upcoming NEWMAC Championship Tournament which kicks off on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

In the opening set the teams battled to a 10-10 tie before a kill from Alex May sparked a 9-3 run for the visitors. The Blue (18-9, 5-2 NEWMAC) trimmed the lead to 23-20, but could get no closer as MIT wrapped up the set 25-20.

Wellesley rebounded in game two, jumping out to a 5-1 lead, highlighted by consecutive kills from Taylor King. MIT (24-7, 8-0 NEWMAC) fought back, cutting the lead to one point on six occasions, but the Blue maintained their advantage throughout the set for the 25-22 win.

The Engineers established a 5-1 edge to open the third set, but Wellesley tied the score at eight with a kill from Elizabeth Campbell. MIT regained an advantage with a four-point serving run from Anna Dikina, with the help of two kills by Kelly Schulte. The Blue capitalized on three Engineer errors and knotted the score at 12. After trading sideouts which evened the set at 17, the Cardinal and Gray grabbed the lead for good courtesy of two stuff blocks from Schulte and Cecily Joujon-Roche and one stuff block by Schulte and Jenny Li to spark a 25-21 win.

The Engineers grabbed an early 7-4 lead in game four, capped off by a kill from Barden Cleeland. Wellesley narrowed the gap to two (11-9), but MIT responded with a 7-1 run that included three more kills from Cleeland. The Blue bounced back with a five-point serving run from Alice Cummings, trimming the lead to 17-16. The Engineers broke away again, increasing their cushion to 21-17. Wellesley mounted another charge but fell short, dropping the fourth and deciding set 25-23.

May paced MIT’s balanced attach with 11 kills to go along with nine digs. Cleeland and Li each finished with nine kills as Joujon-Roche posted eight kills and six blocks. Schulte registered seven kills, five blocks, and three aces while Katie Spielbauer collected 12 digs. Alyssa Rothman tallied 41 assists and three blocks as Dikina notched seven digs and three aces.

Wellesley's Campbell had a match-high 17 kills, while Cummings picked up 10 to go along with 12 digs. Isabel Custodio recorded 23 assists for the Blue with Victoria Peng adding 17.

The Engineers return to action on Saturday, Oct. 31, when they host Mount Holyoke at 1:00 in their final regular season match. The Blue will play at Springfield on Thursday, October 29, at 7:00 p.m., and then close out its regular season on Saturday, when it hosts Smith at 1:00 p.m.